Apr 26, 2018, 2:32 PM EST
Over 70 student-athletes and student support staffers knew they were going to receive their Monogram jacket on Tuesday evening, but a special part of the spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony was the surprise presentation of a jacket, and all that it entails, to a member of the Notre Dame family.
Notre Dame Senior Associate Athletics Director Jill Bodensteiner (’91, ‘08) kicked off the speaking program and addressed the first-time Monogram winners, their families, teammates, coaches and administrators inside Club Naimoli. She spoke on behalf of the Notre Dame athletics department and she not only congratulated the recipients, but also their support systems, which made it possible for the honorees to reach this milestone.
Following her speech, Bodensteiner was asked to remain on stage and Notre Dame Senior Deputy Athletics Director Missy Conboy (’82, basketball) touted the impact that Bodensteiner has had at Notre Dame. Bodensteiner joined the department in 2009 and has worked in areas of compliance, policy management and legal affairs, while also serving as the sport administrator for the women’s basketball program. Prior to that, she spent 12 years with the Notre Dame Office of the General Counsel. She will assume her new role as director of athletics at Saint Joseph’s University on June 1. Bodensteiner’s service to Notre Dame made her an extremely worthy recipient of an honorary Monogram.
The Karen and Kevin Keyes Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw, a fellow honorary Monogram Club member, came to the stage to give Bodensteiner her Monogram jacket.
“This is the most meaningful award I’ve ever received in my life because of what this means (pointing to the monogram on the jacket) and all of you who wear it,” said Bodensteiner to the first-time Monogram recipients.
Derrick Mayes (’96), an All-America wide receiver at Notre Dame and Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers, was the ceremony’s featured alumni speaker. Mayes spent over five seasons in the NFL and since his retirement from the league, he’s gone on to a very successful career in entertainment and business. Mayes has worked in all aspects of film & television, corporate and philanthropy, including serving on the board of directors for the Lou’s Lads Foundation. Mayes currently lives in Los Angeles and is Vice President of WME/IMG and the Co-Founder of 5.0 Communications.
“You first-time Monogram winners have come to embark on such a monumental occasion and I’m so honored to experience it with you,” said Mayes. “Tonight is about you and what you’re willing to do to get where you want.
“Getting to Notre Dame for me was not a dream come true, but rather the beginning of a new dream and a new journey. It wasn’t until I set foot on this campus that I learned about the Notre Dame support system. From the professors, to the TAs, to the academic services for student-athletes, I immediately recognized how much this University cares. For any future academic success, I knew that I needed to care just the same.
“I want to congratulate you. I want to celebrate you. You all are high-potential individuals. True mobility lies with the evolution from the current and future you from your former self. Your potential is limitless. As you pursue those great heights in your journey, I want to remind you to find time to celebrate life and all of its subtleties that happen every day.”
Following Mayes’ speech, the first-time Monogram winners from Notre Dame’s fall sports, along with student managers, athletic trainers, video technicians and cheerleaders donned their jackets and were introduced.
Paige Crowley, a senior on the women’s soccer team, concluded the ceremony with her student-athlete reflection. Crowley and her siblings, including her brother Patrick (’14, basketball), are the fifth generation of her family to attend Notre Dame. Crowley talked about her Fighting Irish career and how it wasn’t always easy due to injury setbacks along the way.
“I was not going to let the knee injuries define me,” said Crowley. “I was not going to give it the power to decide my future for me. I wanted to stay on the team and compete and win games. But more importantly, I wanted everything that the team gives back: friends, teammates, student-athlete community.
“After another injury, I was at a crossroads. What did my future look like with the team? I stuck with it. I went to my daily rehab sessions, was at practice and watched every game cheering on every girl, all with the goal of returning to the practice field at the end. People would always ask why I stuck with it and the answer was simple: because of my teammates. I leaned on my teammates and other student-athletes to reach my goal of practicing my final season, and I did it.
“This jacket I’m wearing is so much more than a representation of my soccer career. It shows I did all the hard work. I took my life into my own hands and I did what was important to me. More than that, and perhaps more importantly, it’s the final step to join this incredible community. It’s something I dreamt about since I was 15.”
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